Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Father of Lies

Synopsis: Truth or Lies?

Lidda knew, with a clarity that was like a candle in a dark room, that all had changed; something was loosed in the village—Devil or not—and they would pay for it, every last man, woman, and child.
Fourteen-year-old Lidda has always known she was different. She longs to escape Salem Village and its stifling rules—to be free to dance, to sing, to live as she chooses. But when a plague of accusations descends on the village and witch fever erupts, Lidda begins to realize that she feels and sees things that others can't, or won't. But how will she expose the truth without being hung as a witch herself?
Gripping and emotional, Ann Turner's retelling of the Salem witch trials captures one girl's brave soul-searching amidst a backdrop of fear and blame.

My Review: Well as you probably already know I’m a total history fanatic.  One subject I am particularly obsessed with is the Salem Witch Trials.  With these particular novels I usually find that the MC is always more spirited and free minded than the rest of the village.  Lidda fits this description but I think the author did a much better job really putting you into the time period than other novels.  The one aspect that truly separates good historical fiction from the great is the ability to transport the reader back into that particular time.  Turner does this tremendously well.  It didn’t feel like a modern day girl relating the events of the past.  Lidda is a Puritan, from the way she speaks and behaves, to the very way she thinks.  Getting that type of characterization is particularly difficult since the Puritan mind-set is so different than our own.  I really applaud Turner for this.  It must have taken loads of research and reading a lot of first hands accounts.  

It’s always so different to read through a young woman’s point of view from a time different than our own.  I found Lidda to be very refreshing and I thoroughly enjoyed reading through her POV.  Lidda loves to dance, to sing, and just be a young girl.  Everything that is absolutely horrifying to the rest of the village.  Her older sister is always sneering down on her for her “strange” behavior.  Lidda feels constrained by the village’s strict views and wants nothing more than to break free.  It’s because of her free mind and accepting nature that Lucian seeks her out.  

I thought Lucian was an interesting addition to the story.  Lucian?  Lucien?  Lucifer? I’m not religious give me a break here I don’t remember! Plus well it’s been a while since I read this book so my memory isn’t the greatest.  Clearly he is “the Devil” that Salem so fears.  Now if I remember correctly Lucifer is “The Light Bringer” right? Or at least something similar in name.  Forgive me on my lack of biblical reference alright?  Never read it.  Well in this case the Devil is the one who is bringing to light all the lies that are being told in Salem; which I found rather ironic to be honest.  Only Lidda can see and hear him, which brings up the question if she is crazy or not.  Is Lucian really there? Or is Lidda’s over active imagination playing tricks on her?  Whether he is real or not really isn’t important.  It’s what he represents and how he affects Lidda that is important to the story.  Lidda begins to question the hysteria sweeping the village.  Are the girls really being attacked by witches or is it just a sad cry for attention in a world where women are not treated with importance?  

Turner truly explains why girls at this time would lie about such a thing and accuse innocent people of being a witch.  Women are insignificant and more often than not ignored.  With the whole Puritan mind set, women are the cause for original sin.  It only makes sense that in a religious obsessed society that women would be treated as such.  The desire to become important was just too much of a temptation.   Turner handles the witch hysteria wonderfully.  For some reason, other novels just don’t compare with how well Turner depicted the witch fever.  Maybe I just haven’t read a good Salem story in a while, but I really did love Father of Lies.  The writing was really refreshing and I adored Lidda’s character.  Turner introduced a new spin on an otherwise well known story that makes a unique read that you can’t pass by. 


Stormi said...

Sounds like a good one, I can't wait to read it. Great review.

Michelle Flick said...

Wow, sounds good. The Salem Witch Trials is one of my favorite time periods. Thanks for the find!